What is MAP Testing?

All elementary-age students -- kindergarten through fifth grade -- participate in MAP testing. MAP, or the Measure of Academic Progress test, is a computer-adaptive skills assessment that provides parents, teachers and administrators with metrics to measure a student's academic growth and progress early in their academic life. It is also considered a standardized test that schools use to measure student achievement and student performance in different achievement levels and grades.

MAP scores are also monitored throughout a student’s time in school to show MAP growth over time and through learning in each grade level. While the tests can range in time taken during the school year, they all evaluate the same skills for those of certain grades. High school and middle school students normally do not take MAP tests, as they aim to take tests like the ACT and SAT. For those familiar with NWEA (Northwest Evaluation Association or nwea.org), it is a similar evaluation of skills in a different testing form.

What Does Computer-Adaptive Mean?

The MAP test is adaptive, meaning that the computer allows for the test questions to adapt to the individual skill levels of all students. If a student answers a question correctly, the questions will become more difficult; if a student answers a question incorrectly, the questions will become easier. This is a clear inclusion to show the measures of academic progress in a student. While MAP measures change depending on subject and school year, MAP tests are basically used as MAP growth tests to determine a student’s ability in different areas.

Computer-adaptive testing allows for more accurate testing.
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What Is on the Test?

The MAP test covers reading, language usage and mathematics. While this computer-adaptive test is not timed, most students complete the test in less than an hour. If students complete their regularly assigned homework, they should be prepared for the test.

Some school districts even prepare students with special training lessons in preparation to test time to help improve student growth over certain areas of study. The child’s school may or may not give direct MAP lessons in prep, but it is up to the child’s teacher to decide that lesson plan. It is up to the individual student to show how good of a learner they are within their MAP assessments.

Why Does My Child Need to Take the MAP Test?

The MAP test is given three to four times a year to track student progress and achievement over time. Some tests can be given toward the end of the school year, while others are within certain timeframes. Measuring growth over time helps students and families in goal setting and personal development. The MAP test results also help teachers determine what to teach and how best to group children in the classroom.

For example, if your student ranks high in the math portion, they might be encouraged to take math courses like algebra earlier in their school career. The tests cover basic common core standards that most elementary schools are encouraged to teach at their highest standard. While these MAP tests can compare to other state tests, they normally test at instructional levels to improve student scores and student’s learning over time. These tests display a student’s strengths in the common core subject areas. Test scores are given to students after the tests have been evaluated, and some schools even honor their highest scoring students in unique ways.

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